His dream of becoming an electrical engineer was cut short by a bullet that lodged in his chest on Wednesday morning.
The bullet struck him as he walked to work in the midst of the weeklong demonstrations against the poor state of the Mwiki-Kasarani road in Nairobi.
The incident marks the latest case of police brutality in the country, coming a day after Human Rights Watch released a report showing that there is an increase in human rights violations by security forces in the country.
Kasarani Sub-County Police Commander Muthuri Mwongera confirmed that one death was reported and five officers were injured.
“Three are admitted in critical condition while two were discharged. A postmortem will reveal the cause of the teenager’s death,” said Mr Mwongera.
Seventeen-year-old Stephen Machurusi paid the ultimate price in the protests.
His family said he was caught up in the chaos as he left home for work outside Garden City mall where he sells sausages and boiled eggs.
His sister, Lilian Waringa, said the family learnt that her brother was missing when her husband called to ask about his whereabouts.
“He had left home for work and could not be reached on the phone. After asking around in vain, my mother decided to search for him within the neighbourhood only to find him lying on the ground at Sunton shopping centre surrounded by a multitude of protesters,” recalled Ms Waringa, adding that, at the time, her brother had not passed on.
“Some of the onlookers had fed him glucose to keep him energised as he waited to be rushed to a nearby clinic. But when he got to the clinic, the staff declined to admit him, saying his wound was too sensitive,” she recalled.
Staff at the clinic said the bullet had lodged in his chest. He died shortly after.
Angry at the turn of events, tens of protesters accompanied by the family carried Machurusi’s body in a cart and marched to Sunton Police Post where they recorded a statement. The body was then taken to the City Mortuary.
Ms Waringa said her brother started hawking snacks after clearing his studies at Mona High School in Molo, Nakuru County, as he tried to raise money for use in campus.
“He scored a C-plus in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination and was eager to join campus to begin his journey of being an engineer. It is sad that his dream was cut short this way,” said Ms Waringa.
Mr Joseph Okwayo was another victim of police brutality. He sustained a bullet wound on his right hand. He is currently receiving treatment at a private clinic near his home.
Mr Okwayo told the Nation that the bullet missed his abdomen and hit his hand as he walked from his place of work to his church for bible study.
The weeklong protests were aimed at forcing the government to start repair works on the road.
Meanwhile, the government sought to end the four-day protests by directing that repair works on the road start immediately.
Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja said deliberations by the concerned agencies resolved that the contractors be on the site by yesterday afternoon.
Mr Sakaja said he will supervise the work alongside the Presidential Delivery Unit.
“While demonstrations were genuine, it is unfortunate they degenerated into the anarchy that we are now witnessing,” said Senator Sakaja, promising that no more lives will be lost in the area due to protests caused by bad roads.
Additional reporting by Brian Okinda